August 06, 2016
We somehow think that God is far removed from the political scene. That men just do what they want and God is nowhere to be found. And, that as followers of Christ we are completely helpless in the matter. But we forget the record in the Scripture of how God easily manipulates national leaders to accomplish His purposes—sometimes purposes of judgment and sometimes mercy.
This doesn’t mean that national leaders are not responsible for their own choices. But it also doesn’t mean that God is not sovereignly overseeing the world and can accomplish what He desires, when He desires.
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him!
Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the Lord, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem. Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.’” (Ezra 1:1-4)
THE PURPOSES OF GOD
Why did God do this impossible, unprecedented thing, moving on the heart of a totally secular king to accomplish His purposes for His people? Because He had a plan. It was a plan of judgment, (that sent the Israelites into captivity in the first place because of their idolatry and disobedience), and then of mercy, so they could return and rebuild the city of His promise and presence.
God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God stirred Cyrus’ heart. God led David. God pulled his blessing away from wicked kings and showered his blessings upon kings like Hezekiah. Proverbs says that the ""heart of the king is in the hands of the Lord and like rivers of water He turns it wherever He wills."" (Proverbs 21:1)
THE POWER IN A CRY
But there is one constant in how God seems to operate among nations. He hears the cries of His children and answers their prayers. This doesn’t mean, though, that suddenly things change so we can all live a financially prosperous life. Sometimes God’s greatest purposes are accomplished through the persecution of the church as God strengthens and builds His body.
But could it be that the revived church is more powerful and more instrumental in the outcome of nations than we have ever understood?
If so—and I believe it is so—we must do everything we should as faithful citizens of the country in which we live. We should push for the choices in national leaders that will promote righteousness, and almost always that is a vote for the lesser of two evils, for every leader is flawed.
But most importantly, and even more significantly, we must cry out. Now.
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023